Wednesday, October 9, 2013
Wheat, Tares/Lies, Truth
Matthew 13:30 - Let both [the wheat and the tares] grow together until the harvest, and at the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, “First gather together the tares and bind them in bundles to burn them, but gather the wheat into my barn."
I read an article a Facebook friend posted recently about Joel Osteen, pastor of Lakewood Church in Houston, Texas, the largest church in the country having over 10,000 people. Must be a good church then, huh? Free spirited, no cross, no religious symbols, rock concert type setting, with flashing lights on the ceiling. "And we cheer and we shout and there's joy."
This was a good article in that a discerning person could see how Osteen, often by his own words, believes it's supposed to be all about HIM teaching US what WE can do to get what WE want now. Where's God in any of that? God's Word should be preached, not Osteen's. Christ did not die so we could have all we want on this earth today. Yes, He gives us the blessing of a lifetime, that being eternal life in Him. But satan does what he does best. He lies and one of his best is that God wants us to have all the material wealth here and now, all prosperity and health, all good things; that's what life is all about. Satan tempted Eve, he continues to tempt anyone willing to listen today.
Matthew 6:20-21 tells us not to store up treasures on earth that can be destroyed but to store up treasures in heaven; where our hearts are, so is our treasure. The greatest treasure is securing our eternal life, through Christ...alone. If God isn't the focal point in our lives with all else following, our hearts and treasures are in the wrong place. It's all about Christ. It's about receiving HIM into our lives and living devoted to Him. It's about knowing the truth...that, yes, God loves us unconditionally, but if one rejects that love, which rejection is considered...no not considered...IS...rebellion and sin, one rejects God and there are consequences, which is eternal death.
Funny, after Jesus talked about hearts and treasures He talked about false prophets and teachers...that's Osteen...teaching falsehoods whether knowingly or in ignorance. We do not know his motive, whether for his own riches, telling the people what they want to hear, or out of blindness himself to the truth of God's Word. But his preachings are lies.
Just this past Monday, as an aside, we discussed true love in women's Bible study. A point made was how we reject God from outright disobedience to His commands to lack of tolerance within our homes, even unkind thoughts. We all fall short, but it's by God's grace He picks us back up daily to start over if we are truly repentant at the time we recognize our failing. We have a patient Father. Search my heart, purify my heart, O God. Then after writing this, this one brief part of a series on truth from our pastor was in my email. Doesn't all sound like our whole life will be wondrous blessings, does it?
Christ died for all mankind, but only a few will actually receive His free gift of salvation. Matthew 7:13-14 - “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it." I don't believe many in Osteen's megachurch will find the road leading to life if they do not wake up to the truth. At the end of their lives they may find they lived for the wrong purpose...and did not store up treasures in heaven, but treasures of and in the world.
The biggest misconception, and we see it everywhere in the world, is that we live for the here and now, eat, drink and be merry, take what we can get, or spend countless hours working hard for it and not give any thought to God. Do we bless ourselves with what we have made of or for ourselves (our stuff) or does He bless us with what He gives us (truth and life)?
We read one part above from the parable about the wheat and the tares. The wheat represents those who are in Christ, the tares, those who are not. They are both sown in a field which represents the world. In this world we are either a wheat or a tare. We live and grow together. A day of judgment will come to each of us when we must account for our lives. On that day the wheat will be separated from the tares. The tares will be gathered and burned, the wheat will survive. If you read the last part of the scripture above it says, "but gather the wheat into my barn." If we are of Christ He will gather us to Himself. If we are not we are burned. Sounds a bit like heaven or hell.
We are told to beware of the false teachers. If we are not hearing all the truth in our churches, we are missing out on the greatest gift of all, eternal life. If we are not being told the hard words to turn away from our sin and turn to Christ, we are not hearing the whole truth. Some don't want to hear those words...like those who attend Osteen's church. We can be quoted scripture, told stories, be encouraged that if we put our minds to it, we can accomplish "whatever," but if sin is not blatantly exposed and discussed with the only solution being Jesus Christ, we are in the wrong place. Joel Osteen tells about how we can live our lives successfully today and fails to point to Jesus, the work of the Holy Spirit, and our Father in Heaven. He is no more than a secular motivational speaker who occasionally throws in a scripture.
If we repent of our sins, receive Christ, allow the Holy Spirit to guide us, God will give us the desires of our heart, which will be His desires for us because He knows what's best for each of us. He gives generously, although it may not always come in ways we think. My spiritual blessing is the most important. My spiritual and eternal life are more important than anything else. Praise God for that. I was asked one time if a particular thing never happened in my life, would I still follow Christ? My answer was absolutely. I couldn't imagine living without Christ. He's my strength in all trials. He's all I need.
I still claim to not be perfect. Perfection in Christ is an ongoing process and it is only arrived at when we die and are with our Savior. We are not to lose heart. I'm thankful I know the truth, which has set me free. I'm thankful these hard words were preached to me. I'm thankful for a discerning spirit. I'm thankful for being able to share this knowledge.
Galatians 6:8 - For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life.